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What is the Most-Anticipated Battle on Cowboys Defense for 2021 Camp?

Big changes abound on the defensive side of the ball for the 2021 Dallas Cowboys. Along with a new coordinator in , a lot of news faces have been added at every position via free agency and the draft. While we're looking forward to watching all of these unfold, which position promises the toughest battle in this year's training camp?

There's lots to talk about at defensive . Free agents and Carlos Watkins, plus rookies Osa Odhigizuwa and Quinton Bohanaa, are joining the mix with returning prospects and . It's doubtful all six will make the team and how the snaps will be divided between the survivors is also hard to predict. This is about as wide-open as it gets for a position battle.

is another spot full of question marks. While feels like a sure thing for on starting job, how will the rest shake out between , , rookies and , and several other returning contenders? It's hard to even call an early favorite right now; anything feels possible between Brown, Joseph, and Lewis to claim the CB2 and CB3 roles.

and safety both have projected starting duos but unpredictability among the backups. We expect to see , , , and all on the 1st- but who files in behind them is hard to predict. Dallas has assembled many options for 2021 between their carryovers from last year and new faces like and at DE or Jayron Kearse and at safety.

Again, lots to watch at all of these positions. But when it comes to the absolute hottest spot for this year's camp and , I don't think you can pick anywhere but .

Dallas Cowboys 2020 Offseason Preview: Linebacker
Cowboys LBs and Jaylon Smith (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Since 2016 the Cowboys have spent two 1st-Round picks and a high 2nd to find difference-makers at linebacker. We thought in 2018 that those efforts had paid off with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, but their sharp declines in recent years pushed Dallas to draft and in 2021.

Also joining the fray is Keanu Neal, the former safety who's converting to linebacker now with the Cowboys. While that transition could be a hindrance depending on the result, Neal has his relationship with Dan Quinn from Atlanta as an extra chip that his fellow contenders don't currently enjoy.

Is anything certain between these players going into camp? Would Dallas have even made the moves they did with Neal and Parsons if they felt secure with Smith and Vander Esch?

There's a new regime in town who had no hand in drafting Jaylon or Leighton. And if the Cowboys front office had strong feelings about them retaining their starting roles, it's hard to imagine they'd have spent the 12th-overall pick on another linebacker.

No, all signs point to a wide-open competition at every level. And though we said the same thing about , the emotions are going to run hotter at linebacker given the personalities and strong feelings some have about them.

More so than , allows for more committee approaches and diversity in usage at its positions. The official starters may not get many more snaps than some of their backups depending on rotations and various schemes and packages.

That said, there's still a pretty clear pecking order at any position. And when it comes to the linebacker spot for the 2021 Cowboys, there's really no telling how that will look until we start hearing about who ran with what team in camp and see how players are deployed in preseason games.

Hopefully, the actual competition will be as hot as the pre-camp intrigue.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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